Recurring website maintenance costs
Just like web development costs, website maintenance costs can vary greatly depending on complexity of project. For example, if you own a static business page where information is updated a few times a year, your maintenance costs will include just hosting fee and domain name renewal plus basic Wordpress updates.
WordPress is one of the cheapest CMS’s in terms of maintenance, because it’s free, as are the most popular WP plugins. There’re many WordPress developers out there, so you can always hire someone to maintain your website for a reasonable price. This is one of the reasons why WordPress is so popular among small and medium businesses.
Your website needs to be hosted somewhere and you have to pay for hosting services – that’s clear. Many people, however, confuse the cloud-based WordPress (wordpress.com) with the free WordPress (wordpress.org). In the first case, you pay a small monthly fee to the WordPress platform (usually 5 to 25 EUR) and your website is hosted on their servers. This is definitely not what I recommend doing because this software is very limited compared to the “real” WordPress. It is, in fact, a completely different product and may be suitable for hobby sites or personal blogs.
Choosing WordPress.org means that you will need to create an account with a hosting company (I can help you with that) and you’ll be paying them a fixed monthly fee (or yearly, which usually saves you 5-20%). A good shared hosting costs between 10 EUR and 30 EUR per month. If you run an e-commerce website, you will probably need a more powerful and flexible solution (e.g. VPS), so average monthly hosting fees for a small to mid-sized online store may be 50 to 150 EUR.
Your server’s physical location doesn’t really affect your SEO anymore, at least for Google. So hosting services are becoming more and more affordable, thanks to competition between international hosting providers. Many hosting companies place their servers in multiple locations across the world, so your website will be served from the data centre nearest to your visitor.
As of July 2018, Chrome browser marks all http websites as “not secure”. Every well-maintained website nowaday uses https to securely serve data to their visitors. To serve your website via https, you will need to purchase a SSL certificate and renew it every year. Some hosting providers offer free SSL certificates, or you can get a free one from a CDN like Cloudflare. Paid SSL certificates can cost from 5 EUR to 250 EUR per year – again, depending on your business needs. For example, an e-commerce website needs a higher level of security than a simple business site.
CDN stands for Content Distribution Network and it’s a technology that helps serve web content from data centres nearest to visitor’s location, thus making your website load faster. A CDN usually also protects your site from bad bots (did you know that bots make a huge share of web traffic?) and aggressive traffic. Maybe you have heard about CDNs like Cloudflare, KeyCDN or Incapsula before. These companies offer both free and paid plans. Free plans work best for smaller websites and static business sites, while paid plans provide extra protection and advanced caching options for high-load projects. Paid Cloudflare plans start from 20 USD per month, Incapsula is more expensive starting from 59 USD per month. But once again, a free plan will absolutely work for a small website.
These are usually paid for on a yearly basis. A small website rarely requires any paid plugins, but it is quite common to install paid add-ons for Woocommerce – the e-commerce solution for WordPress. It’s just cheaper and simpler than hiring a web developer to write custom code. An average WordPress plugin costs about 50 EUR per year.
Web developer’s fees
WordPress requires regular updates. You will probably need to pay your web developer a monthly fee for small changes, core and plugin updates, and other maintenance works (like database optimization or making sure that the backup system is working correctly). Some developers charge hourly for this type of work, but it’s more common to charge a fixed monthly rate. Maintenance fees can start from 25-50 EUR per month, additional work like making changes to your website layout, publishing new content and adding new features can cost about 20-50 EUR per hour.
If you want to cut your monthly costs, you can learn updating WordPress yourself. Just make sure you have automatic backups activated on your server 😉 In case something goes wrong, you can roll back to a safe copy and hire a web developer for assistance.
I’ve listed the most common website maintenance costs, but extra expenses may arise. For example, I’ve seen web font licenses that require a monthly fee based on number of pageviews! Or, if you’re running an ecommerce website, your payment gateway will charge you a small fee on every transaction.
Every website is different and its monthly/yearly maintenance costs should be calculated individually. For a small website, these costs can be as low as 100 EUR per year. An e-commerce website of up to 5.000 products is more likely to cost you between 100 EUR and 300 EUR per month.